“Every year of the baby steps we’ve been taking up to this point means that we need to be taking bigger leaps with each following year, if we are to stay in this race. The science is absolutely clear.”
Chemicals and the Economy
investors are hoping Fed Chairman Jay Powell will soon signal a dramatic interest rate cut. And so they are positioning for a ‘Santa Claus’ rally. But most adults know that Santa Claus doesn’t really exist.
The smartphone market highlights how companies are responding very differently to the economic slowdown. Samsung is adding features such as ‘foldables’. But Apple is building services business to provide annuity revenue for the future.
Last week, the Japanese yen fell through the US$ : ¥150 level for the first time since 1990. It has now fallen by nearly 50% against the US$ in the past two years. The currency is behaving as if Japan were a 3rd world country – whereas it is actually the 3rd largest economy in the world. Clearly, something is very wrong.
Essentially, the industry is at a crossroads.
It now needs to move forward, and accelerate the move to create new circular business models. There is a once-in-a generation opportunity to build a completely new future, based on closer relationships with its downstream stakeholders, including brand owners and waste companies.
US 10-year interest rates are the world’s benchmark “risk-free” market. And as the chart shows, their yield has risen from 3.25% on 4 June to peak at 4.88% on Friday. Prices move inversely to yield. So that means prices have fallen 50% in 4 months.
300+ years of Bank of England data shows that interest rates are typically inflation plus 2.5%. At today’s level, this would imply – US rates would be 3.7% + 2.5% = 6.2%: Japan would be 3.2% + 2.5% = 5.7%: Eurozone rates would be 5.3% + 2.5% = 7.8%; UK rates would be 6.7% + 2.5% = 9.2%
The losses sitting on central bank balance sheets are starting to soar to eye-watering levels. The US Federal Reserve is sitting on a “mark-to-market” loss of $911bn. The UK taxpayer has already handed over £150bn ($192bn) to cover the Bank of England’s losses.
Taylor Swift’s concerts are creating massive short-term demand as people reconnect after lockdowns. But the chemical industry is warning that deflation could be round the corner, due to the over-capacity created by 20 years of stimulus
Central banks have spent 15 years telling us that debt and demographics “don’t matter”. They claimed they could always create demand via stimulus. But now the policy has run out of road. Homeowners and stock traders who thought rates would stay low forever, will be the ones to suffer